Tradition of Excellence

After rising before 6 a.m. every morning, eating approximately 6,120 school lunches, holding countless meetings, and scheduling innumerable school activities, Malta School District’s principal, Scott King, has announced that he will retire at the end of this school year. Mr. King will be saying farewell to the Malta School District where he has spent the past 34 years and has held multiple titles and positions. King announced earlier this year that his plans to retire.
Mr. King received his teaching degree from North Dakota in 1981. He then furthered his education and attained his graduate degree in educational leadership from the University of Montana in Missoula. His career began in 1981 in Harlem, Montana, where he was hired to teach industrial arts.
In 1985, he moved to Malta to become the middle school principal, industrial arts teacher, head wrestling coach, and assistant football coach. Then in 1989, and continuing over the next four years, Mr. King served as the assistant track coach as well as the Mustang’s head football coach in which he won three state championships in both. In 2012, he gave up all other teaching responsibilities to become the high school principal and athletic director.
Not only was Mr. King a great administrator and coach, but also a great coworker and friend. Mr. Kuehn, who has worked with King for the past fifteen years shared, “Professionally he taught me that you can accomplish more with a soft tone and a directive than you can with a loud voice. There's something about his demeanor that disarms people. That is the thing I will miss the most, his calming influence that he has on our school.” Mr. Bleth, just like Mr. Kuehn, has had a very close relationship with King, not only through school and sports activities but in life. “I especially enjoyed coaching. All the time spent with him outside of actual practice, before the games, after big wins, and just the time spent in that environment was great. It was fun and we always had a good time. It was the thought that we were working together for a common purpose. I will always look back on all of our memories very fondly. Of course after thirteen years together we were bound to have a lot of good laughs and shared experiences.”
One of King's closest colleagues, Mr. Schye, shared that he coached football with King for 29 years, as well as track. He too was more than just a co-worker of King’s. Schye fondly remembers all of the good times they shared with the student-athletes. “Even out of school today we still talk track and field and football. No matter if we are building a deck, or going hunting, our talks always seem to make their way back to sports.” Mr. Schye also admires, “ his dedication, organization, and the way he treats people.” Clearly, Mr. King, has made his mark here at Malta High School.
Mr. King will be leaving big shoes to fill with his vast amount of knowledge, years of experience, and the pride he has for MHS. “It was never beneath him to sweep the rug or pick up any garbage off the floor. He was a leader by action!” Mr. Engebretson praised. Mr. King has always gone out of his way to help anyone he could. Mr. Bleth fondly expressed, “I have learned as much from him in terms of teaching, coaching and just life, than anyone. I don’t know if he meant to or if it just kind of happened, but he was always teaching coaches how to be better coaches, teachers better teachers, and people better people. He always found ways to teach things or point out things in a constructive or positive way.” King also never failed to keep things fair and not let one activity out power the rest. “He had a great view of the whole school. Speech and drama, academics, music, clubs, and sports were all important, and he viewed all students the same way, important!” added Mr. Engebretson. Mr. E was definitely right! Mr. King has had total belief and pride in everything that MHS represents. “I believe that we are one of the best high schools in Montana and the students have the opportunity to experience different areas academically and through our activities programs as well. Our music program is the best with great directors, and our athletics and activities speak for themselves.” Mr. King voiced proudly.
“His footprints are everywhere around the school, cleanliness, orderliness, and exceptional behavior from the student body. A solid foundation has been set for the students and faculty,” Mr. Kuehn stated. Schye agreed with Kuehn and added, “Mr. King is the person who comes into a situation and when he leaves, the situation, the people are better from him being there.” “I know a lot of people who have been influenced by him. A lot of kids who will have never had him as a coach, teacher, or principal will still feel the influence of his work without even knowing it was him, like the little traditions that we will carry on such as the pep rallies in the foyer, and they will feel the impact he had on us,” Mr. Bleth said emotionally.
When I asked Mr. King if there was anything he wanted to leave with the students of MHS, he thoughtfully responded, “I have always told students to take advantage of their time here. They are creating memories that will last a lifetime. Little did I know that I would be taking my own advice. I have created memories that will last ME a lifetime!”
After retiring, Mr. King plans to travel to Maine to pick up his dad’s woodworking tools so he can get back into woodworking himself. He and his wife Kathy also plan to spend a lot of time with their children and grandchildren and do some traveling with them.
We here at MHS would like to thank you, Mr. King, and wish you the best on your well-deserved retirement. We will continue to carry on the “Tradition of Excellence” you have instilled.